Promotions at JMM

16 11 2006

Promotions is Opening Opportunities for a Meaningful Faith in God

I have always viewed promotions not just a marketing device for our albums and products, but providing opportunities for others to get to hear our songs and perhaps through our songs, their life of faith becomes deeper.

St. Paul said that the love and mercy of God is mediated through people, but it is the power of the Holy Spirit who gives rebirth and renewal. When we have concerts and choir services, we notice people who are moved to tears. We know that we have lent our voices to a particular song, but it is God who touches their hearts.

When albums are released, launches are organized. Fr. Arnel Aquino SJ and Himig Heswita gives a simple, prayer concert for Lauds 7 at the Cardinal Sin Center, Loyola School of Theology; a bigger prayer concert for Stand By Me Still in Cebu, Manila and a US Tour. Jay Gomez and Bong Rosario provides soothing flute and guitar renditions for Vespers. Hangad and Bukaspalad organizes school and church concerts. Recently, both of them went to the US for a series of concerts promoting Easter Journey (Hangad) and God of Silence (BukasPalad). Both have been invited to parish concert fund-raisers or album promotions.

Last year, all artists of JMM came together for a Christmas concert at Sto. Nino de Padua chapel in Greenbelt: Himig Heswita, Canto Cinco, Jay Gomez & Bong Rosario, Noel Cabangon, Hangad and BukasPalad. Small renditions were done at Gateway Mall in Cubao.

Last October, Hangad had a concert to celebrate 15 years and to promote their Christmas card with CD, A Wish for Christmas, at the Greenbelt Chapel, Makati City. This year, a series of concerts for Christmas celebrates the season. Here is the schedule:

December 1, Hangad, SM Megamall, Activity Center, Friday, 7:30 PM.

December 15, JMM’s All-Stars (BukasPalad, Hangad, Noel Cabangon, Jay Gomez & Bong Rosario, Canto Cinco, and Himig Heswita), Shangri-la Plaza Mall, Friday, 7:30 PM.

December 22, BukasPalad, SM Megamall, Activity Center, Friday, 7:30 PM.


Friday, November 17, 7:30 PM: Jazzfest for US Embassy, Carlos P. Romulo Theater, RCBC Plaza, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

Saturday, November 18, 6:30 PM: Polo Bethlehem Club, Valenzuela Auditorium

Saturday, December 9, 7:00 PM: Fr. Mimo Prayer Concert, UP Diliman.

Sunday, December 17, 7:30 PM: Mary Mother of the Church Parish, Las Pinas.

Wednesday, December 20, 6:30 PM: Christmas Concert at The Peninsula Manila, Makati City.


Saturday, November 25, 7:00 PM: Aming Simbahan, Ating Tahanan, St. Joseph Parish, Carmona, Cavite

Saturday, December 2: Culion, Palawan

Saturday, December 9: Season of Praise, Pentecost Parish, Loyola Heights, Quezon City

Saturday, December 16, 6:00 PM: Glorietta 2, to be aired on IBC 13

Sunday, December 17, 7:00 PM: Concert and Mass at the Church of the Gesu, Ateneo de Manila University.

Thursday, December 21, 6:30 PM: Christmas Concert at The Peninsula Manila, Makati City.

*Hangad concert in Greenbelt; Vespers launch at the Church of the Gesu; Noel Cabangon on location for his MTV; Hangad on stage; BukasPalad pictorial.

Focus on Training

16 11 2006

Developing talent is empowerment. Sharing one’s skills is giving hope.

My experience of giving Liturgical Music Seminars and Workshops in different parishes exposed me to the various needs of parish choirs, especially poor churches who do not have access to resources. These choirs articulated their need through survey forms. A bulk of these surveys have been gathered in a grand choir workshop at the Ateneo de Manila University High School, organized by BukasPalad in July 2004.

Choirs said that they have problems choosing songs. What songs to use for particular masses? What is appropriate for each part of the mass? They also have questions about the delineation of tasks. What are the roles and responsibilities of church musicians? They said that they lack vocal skills, so they asked, “How does one sing well?” Moreover, the choir is not just a ministry, it is also an organization. What is the ideal organization of a choir in a parish? Furthermore, a large number had problems dealing with the parish priest, people in charge of parish worship or problems within the organization. How do they dialogue with their parish priest who may or may not know the liturgical norms for music? How do they deal with personal problems among choir members that are affecting the ministry and the choir itself?

These questions led me to form a choir that is particularly intended to pass on skills they learn at the Jesuit Music Ministry. The idea is to form a core choir of choral leaders to be trained by a professional coach so that they will in turn pass on the skills and know-how to their particular choirs. Thus, they are not to abandon their choirs. Moreover, if this choir has to articulate the faith of the masses, they should come from the masses. A composer once told to compose songs with social relevance and a sound that could capture the heart of the masses casually remarked, “How could I? I grew up listening to the classics!”

Canto Cinco or C5 has been organized for this purpose. They have recorded a training CD with vocal exercises, taken from the vocal class they attended. This CD is not for sale and is given to the choirs who attend the Liturgical Music Seminar. They in turn help give vocal workshops to choirs who need them. They primarily accompany me give the Liturgical Music Seminar while they take turns explaining the parts of the body used in singing, and then give exercises to develop each part. Though canto is song in Italian, it also puns on their primary apostolate: to go the masses, to the kanto (sidestreets). Cinco verbalizes the five core values that a choir must have: Christ-centeredness, creativity (choirs can compose their own songs), competency (they should be good singers in order to lead people to sing well), community, and commitment.

It is also undeniable that forming this choir makes my work a little bit easy. The demands are great, but the availability of people who can give them is dim. Besides, the church has recognized that the Holy Spirit works with the laity.

Furthermore, training is effective for people who has the talent, but does not have the resources to develop them. A remark from a meeting jolted me, “talent is innate.” It is indeed true, but when left with a given — you see a Jesuit here with a good voice, but does not possess the great talent of a Beethoven, the next best thing is training. Training tells another that whatever gift he or she has — even if it is as small as a mustard seed — and gives his or her all through practice will produce fruits greater than a genius who sleeps all day. Or, wait for a genius to apply and be accepted. The remark, ‘talent is innate’ is to close the door to many of us. Training empowers. It should therefore be available to all, and not just to a particular and singular group given favor in history.

*Liturgical Music Seminars in Pampanga and Tayuman with C5

Album Production

16 11 2006

Music at the Service of God and People

Music articulates the prayers of many people. And the songs and musical genres services people from all walks of life. Each album that JMM produces leads people to pray, and inspires others to deepen their faith in the Lord. The albums produced here answers the needs of many. From liturgical music for mass, to inspirational songs for upliftment, to instrumental music for meditation and quiet, these albums hopefully help people become closer to God.

From June 2004-2005, the Jesuit Music Ministry continued to produce albums. Hangad came up with The Easter Journey, a collection of 23 Lenten and Easter songs in various musical styles. Accompanying this album is a songbook containing the music scores of the songs in the Easter Journey album. Jay Gomez on the flute and Bong Rosario on the guitar, they returned with a Christmas album, Vespers 4: The Work of Christmas, which invites people to celebrate the Christ Child who became one like us. Shortly after Vespers 4, Fr. Arnel dC. Aquino, produced his Lauds 7: Take My Hands album in the genre of Lauds 3, a meditative piano music of songs of the past, that marked our childhood faith. In collaboration with Koro Viannista from St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Cagayan de Oro City, JMM produced its first album in Visayan to help the Church in the South, Himayà Kanimo (Praise to You). It featured classical Visayan liturgical pieces such as Fr. Rudy Villanueva and Narcisa Fernandez. Himig Heswita collaborated with them in songs like “Way Sukod ang Pagmahal” (Love without Measure) composed by Fr. Rudy Villanueva. Uplifting melodies that characterize the pastoral scenery of the south such as Narcisa Fernandez’s Huni sa Kinabuhi, gives the album its unique cultural flavor. And finally, BukasPalad produced its latest album, God of Silence, containing songs about God’s faithful love.

In 2006, JMM produced, Believe, a compilation of songs from different albums which merit artistic attention. Himig Heswita produced a healing album taken from a concert repertoire intended for the sick. The album, Stand By Me Still, has been launched at the Church of the Gesu, and was highly received. Recently, two albums were released. A CD sampler of JMM series, Humayo’t Ihayag, containing the most popular songs of BukasPalad, Hangad, Himig Heswita, Vespers, Lauds and Matins. A Wish For Christmas is the most interesting album. It is actually a Christmas card with a CD of three Hangad Christmas songs. Raymond’s Lullaby is haunting: it tells the story of Raymond, afflicted with autism, who has to be brought to the provinces on Christmas because he is very sensitive to noise. Raymond’s Lullaby is composed by Marchan, a volunteer of L’Arche Philippines, an NGO who cares for autistic children. Hopefully, another album will be released before the end of the Christmas season, Vespers 5, a collection of celebratory melodies for meditation in flute and guitar.